1206. Foundations, Book Three
PUBLICATION: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #19, Pocket eBooks, August 2002 (Omnibus edition, March 2004)
CREATORS: Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore
STARDATE: 53680.2 (follows the previous novel) / 7981.3 (between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan).
PLOT: The Sunata ship explodes, but not before the da Vinci is able to beam away everyone aboard. Carol Abramowitz has the first contact blues, so Scotty tells her a story about his mission with the early SCE to test a new Kelvan warp drive. The test is conducted with an old ship with a small crew of engineers, including the cocky Andorian Talev zh'Thren, and Kelvans. The computer malfunctions and sends the ship far out of its way where, damaged, it is intercepted by the warlike Lutralians. Impatiently requesting they leave, the aliens nevertheless allow the crew to effect repairs. Telev must still buy her people time, and agrees to board the Lutralian ship and see its captain who fancies her. She passes his tests of courage and fighting prowess and before the SCE ship leaves, they agree to proper diplomatic relations between their peoples. Scotty's good buddy Mahmud al-Khaled is to become SCE liaison (Scotty's current post) and vows to make linguists and anthropologists standard complement on SCE ships for such situations. Back in the present, the location of the Sunata homeworld has been found and a diplomat will be assigned to bring them home on the other side of Klingon space.
CONTINUITY: We met the Kelvans (Tomar, Hanar, Drea) in By Any Other Name. The Kelvan engines are hoped to provide the key to transwarp drive (The Search for Spock). Worf is currently serving as ambassador to the Klingon homeworld (What You Leave Behind).
DIVERGENCES: The short story "Gone Native" (Strange New Worlds 9) has Rojan kill Tomar before these events.
SCREENSHOT OF THE WEEK - Katee Sackhoff as Talev zh'Thren
REVIEW: Seems like Book Two was the origin of the anthropologists in the SCE, but it would be realistic that one recommendation would not have done it. Setting up Mahmud as the liaison officer who instituted these changes makes sense. And it's not a bad story either. It features another new character, but a likable riff on the early Saavik. There are two actions scenes in particular, the fight aboard the Lutralian ship but also the sequence where Talev gets thrown off the nacelle during repairs, that are fun and excitingly written. And there's some humor to the Lutralian interactions as well. It's impressive that these short books have managed to create interesting new characters so quickly, and I for one, am not that bothered that the present-day SCE took a back seat during the last three books (even Scotty is secondary to these stories). Mileage may vary, of course.